Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

Out with the Old and In with the New

31 Dec

Life

Here we are on Hogmanay, and it’s time to take an inventory of the last year, and plan for the one ahead. I sat this time last year with my family, and we all said ‘well, 2017 can’t be as bad as 2016’, well it was a close run think – I lost my father-in-law and a friend, who were both lovely gentle people and who are missed. I also spent at least ten nights in hospital (5 separate admissions) with one of my kids, and countless other times at A&E, Out-Patients, the GP and Boots with both oldsters and youngsters. But we did welcome a new baby into the family, and had a wedding which united my nephew with the cousin of one of my oldest friends.

I also got on top of my horrible atopic eczema, thank you Child’s Farm, and got my mojo back (at least a bit)

Writing

An alright year on the writing front. I got back to my writers’ group; went on a retreat to a freezing but very atmospheric country house/castle; continued to write short stories; and made some progress with my novel. I managed to get a few pieces published, but there were the inevitable knock-backs and disappointments. I am starting the new year with a new notebook, which I hope will be filled with lots of tantalising snippets that will grow into fully-formed beauties.

Out with the Paperblanks (I love you) and in with the Essential Waitrose

I have a writing plan in hand, should funding become available; and a another plan if it doesn’t. I’ve got my new office/son’s bedroom painted, so all I need is a carpet, and his university term to start again, and I can move back in.

Reading

I failed miserably at my GoodReads challenge of reading 20 books this year (only managed 12), and got to the stage with my book group that I didn’t even know what book I was meant to have bought (and read). That will all change this incoming year, with Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark in honour of her centenary. I am a huge fan of Muriel Spark, but I actually haven’t read this one, so I am really looking forward to it.

The fact that I haven’t finished many books disguises the fact that I have been doing huge amounts of reading. My writers’ group means that I critique around 15k words a month, and I am nearly finished a Proofreading Course which takes reading to a whole new level. I plan to launch my new website/business in the next couple of months.

Talented G2 Writers

I’ve felt huge pride, and not a little jealousy in the success of friends – four past members of my writers’ group have gone on to great things. Ethyl Smith and Maggie Ritchie published their second novels this year, and Kevin Scott and Gail Honeyman , their first. Gail’s success has been phenomenal, and gives hope to us lesser mortals. Having read the books in draft form, I am only now getting round to reading the books in full, but I know they will be great.

So here’s to 2018, may it bring happiness and health to us all.

 

 

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Round in Circles

5 Jan

The Christmas jigsaw has been completed, and while the decorations are still up, the kids are back at school, so it must be time to get down to work (although it should be noted that paid employment continued/increased over the holidays!).

It must surely be time for New Year Resolutions, but since I started a 90 day plan about 6 weeks ago, I really should just keep on with that. It broadly broke down into three areas: New Book; New Job; New Bod. We’ll totally ignore the last one, as I’m definitely still in the ‘Before’ stage. New Book? Well, the word count is moving up, but not nearly as quickly as I had liked. New Job? Well, there is a bit of a long-term plan there, and I’ve almost completed my Level 1 qualification in British Sign Language, which I am really enjoying and may eventually lead to a little bit of sessional work to supplement the supermarket wages.

So no new resolutions, but I have been thinking about the whole circle of life thing – most of us don’t need to watch the seasons to make our crops flourish, but the way that life is split into days, weeks, months, seasons and years does give us all the opportunity to start again, not just keep going on an unchanging continuum until we write our last word and breathe our last breath. Just think how glad people were to get the Bumper Celeb Death year of 2016 out of the way. There was an almost audible sigh of relief when the bells struck midnight (and Mons Meg was fired), and the internet was filled with memes of Brucie, saying ‘phew, made it.’

And I have to say I was mightily glad to get 2016 behind me as well. It’s been an absolute stinker in many ways, but things are looking much brighter with a welcome decline in hospital trips. The spreadsheet for 2017 is being populated with deadlines for competitions and submissions, and I’m trying not to think too hard about when I’ll receive my annual rejection from New Writing Scotland. So I’ll keep calm and carry on, and I’ll just f*@%ing do it and I hope you’ll keep on keeping me company for the year ahead.

 

Christmas Jigsaw

New Year’s Resolution Part ?

14 Jan

Just decided on this resolution which came like a bolt from the blue and appears to be the answer to all my troubles (don’t you just love cliches?) I’ve alluded in the past to some fairly major family issues affecting us at the moment, which I won’t go into as this isn’t really what this blog is meant to be about. But the issues are still very present, and aren’t going away anytime soon, so here’s the nub of it, it’s affecting my writing. I’ve been trying to get back into a novel I started writing many, many years ago, which is all ready and waiting in my head, but it’s fairly autobiographical, so sitting down to write it takes quite a lot of emotional fortitude. Emotional fortitude is something I have barrel loads of (who knew), but it is all being expended in other ways, leaving none when I’ve got my writer’s head on.

So what’s a girl to do? For the past year I’ve been footering about with short stories, and have spent a lot of time getting All the Places I’ve Ever Been out to market, but the new novel hasn’t been worked on properly. It is a novel I really want, and indeed, need to write. But I’ve finally realised that now is just not the time for it. But it’s not the time for giving up on writing either. I’ve found it really wonderful having a book published, and everyone is giving me such positive feedback that I’d be a fool not to carry on.

So, here’s what I’ve decided – Triangle of Sky is going on the back burner (a place it has languished for so long it should be used to it), and I’m going to pull out a radio play and re-work it as a novel. In theory this should be easier, and as outlets are limited to one for radio plays (and the Beeb said no),  I’m not losing anything by resurrecting it.

I woke up this morning, and even before I saw what a beautiful day it was (a real Elbow one), I felt more ready to write than I have in weeks, and I think it’s because I’ve made this decision.  Anyway, I better go now and get started. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Start the New Year with Free Five a Day

4 Jan

Got your attention – okay, so I’m not offering free fruit and veg (why would I?), but I am offering a free short story collection Five a Day, between 4th and 8th of January 2016. Click here for your free book.

 

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